Tuesday, April 24, 2012
While we are not there yet, "barring injury" as they say, overall we seem slowly but surely (thank goodness) to be headed in that direction. I know, I know, that could change by dinner time, but I still prefer to think of it in positive terms.
As this happens, organizations might want to dust off some of those surveys and remind themselves that after bucks and benefits, what matters, especially to the GenXers (and indeed) lots of Boomers as well.
In the stats that have come across my desk in recent years, one "perk" that keeps coming up again and again and is usually at or near the top of the list is work schedule flexibility. That stat by itself comes as no surprise. What does make me scratch my head, however, is that many bosses still think that "by the book" structure is still what makes the world go round.
Any company or manager on the planet who has not yet gotten the word that as our economy has continued to gain traction the GenXers (and yes, a good percentage of the Boomers as well) are starting to vote with their feet in a big way must not have their EKG machines turned on.
Here at galactic headquarters we see these things manifesting themselves in any number of ways as the senior-level executives who make up our community report to us on what is often an hourly basis things like: people "landing" at a significantly higher rate; new members who report their status as "currently employed and thinking about making a change" to name a couple. They are, of course, responding to what they see in terms of the increased demand (e.g. our postings from recruiters year over year continue to be up.
So my question is this: If all those who say they are making a change because they want to find a work environment and/or a culture that is more in tune with their "wants," to what degree do they "get it?" Do they "get it" enough to really work to transform the cultures of the organizations to which they are going so that they meet the real needs of those already there and as part of which and as members of the executive team, they will be trying to recruit and retain?
If one examines the behavior of organizations in the past as they have attempted to adapt to the changing values of differing generations, it explains all too clearly why when it is a seller’s market that retention is always a big time issue. And the "war for talent" stats notwithstanding, it ain't just about numbers of warm bodies available.
There is in all this, it seems to me, both lesson and "learning." The companies who have not made addressing retention issues a strategic priority must be made up of people who believe the old saying: "History is something that happens to other people."
It would be my hope that in today's environment where we have the chance to apply both lessons and "learnings" that companies will be more inclined to view it as Alphonse De Lamartine put it: "History teaches everything including the future."